An unexpectedly moving memoir.



A Canadian-born entrepreneur recounts how she went to Iran in search of culinary adventure and fell in love.

Klinec was the child of immigrant “striver” parents “for whom money and gain meant everything.” Wealth accumulated through an automotive manufacturing business transformed the love her mother and father had for her and her sister into “benevolent neglect.” Her parents granted Klinec an extraordinary amount of freedom, which, as a teenager, she used to enroll in schools in Switzerland and Ireland and travel all over Europe. While “the sense of motion…thrilled [her],” by the time she was 17, the author also found that she loved cooking. After attending university, she moved to London, where she went to work for an investment banking firm. But the financial security so important to her parents was not enough for her. In her early 30s, she left the corporate world to start her own artisanal foods cooking school, which she ran from her apartment. Fascinated by Middle Eastern culture and food, Klinec decided to go to Iran to find recipes. Less than 24 hours after she arrived in Tehran, a man named Vahid, whose “ ‘hello’ was more of a bark than a greeting,” approached her to practice his English. Vahid introduced Klinec to his mother, and the two women bonded as they prepared food together in the family kitchen. At the same time, the author fell in love with Vahid. Together, they sought out a mullah who would grant them status as “temporary” husband and wife and thus protect them from harsh Islamic laws against adultery. “Our relationship [was] stitched together out of fragments of devotion, strong will and despair,” she writes. Yet in the end, they found belonging—and emotional nourishment—in exile. By turns unsentimental and tender, Klinec’s book offers insight into the delicious world of Persian cuisine as well as the surprising twists and turns of the human heart.

An unexpectedly moving memoir.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1455537693

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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